“Whatever. I’ll do what I want.”

-Cartman, South Park

Early adulthood has probably got to be the most awkward phase in life. I would even bet it’s even more awkward than our teenage years. Sure, I went through a phase with blue eye shadow, sparkly belts, attempting to curl my tiny bangs and use make up and hair products that I had no business using. The difference is that EVERYONE was doing that. Everyone from age 11 until 18 went through the infamous awkward teenage years. We all went through it TOGETHER. That is the difference between those years and these young adult years. We aren’t in school anymore, nor are we given the same opportunities. We don’t have the same friends, and we are just out in life trying to live as best we can with no direction from our parents or teachers. After high school is done, everyone goes their separate ways and onto separate paths.

My parents got married at 26 and 22, had their first baby (ME) at 29 and 25 and done having kids at 33 and 29. My parents are probably a lot like most parents. My parents met at 16 and 20, stayed together for a long time and got married. Both sets of grandparents were also the same, got married young and had kids and stayed together for a REALLY long time. My maternal grandparents celebrated a 50th wedding anniversary, as well as my great grandparents. AND THEY ALL KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON!  

My whole life I thought that was how life was meant to be. Beginning with my first love in high school, marriage was talked about. Yes, you meet someone in high school, fall in love and think you are meant to be together forever. I mean my parents did it. My whole family did it. That is how it is supposed to be right?!

First love came and went, second love came and again marriage was a topic of conversation. Well this MUST be the one; we have been together for a really long time and after college we must not waste any time and we should get married. Again, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Life HAPPENS. Life isn’t so simple anymore. As time has gone on, women aren’t staying home anymore. Men are becoming stay at home dads. Women aren’t just bearing children anymore, and simply never bearing children. People aren’t getting married and having kids until almost 40!

These “ways of life” have always been cemented in my brain. I graduated college at 23, why wasn’t I already engaged or planning a wedding? Is my boyfriend ever going to propose to me? My mom was already married at 22!

Having cancer made me feel like “my life” as I knew it was at a stopping point. I couldn’t progress with relationships, friendships, or careers during this time. There are moments from this time where the frustration comes back and I feel that I am not where I should be because of my cancer battle for three years.

I was diagnosed with cancer at 23 after both of my parents had passed away. Going into remission, I was only focused on one thing; getting my life back and having fun. I was 26 when all was said and done. People that I have graduated high school with are now doctors, nurses, getting married, having babies and have excelled in life where I felt I couldn’t. With my parents’ death and having cancer, there was a lot of anger where my life was not going as to how I had “planned it”. At this point at 26, I was single, working at a job that was not supposed to be my career, and was nowhere near where I wanted to be. (Social media was something else our parents and grandparents didn’t have!)

As life went on, people continued to get married, have babies and start careers. I may have had a delay in my early 20’s but my attitude quickly changed in that I can’t pity myself anymore. Cancer is NOT my handicap. So what if my life was put on hold? I’m going to go back out in the world and make life EVEN BETTER than it was before. This will make me work harder to get to my goals.

There are still times where I feel life feels rushed at this point in life. Sure, I am 30 now but I don’t feel ready to have children. Yes I am married, but I got married because I have met my person. I didn’t get married just so I could have babies. Society makes us feel this way, and that we should all be having babies before we are 30-35.  Many people will be LUCKY to celebrate a 40th anniversary now let alone a 50th. Also, I am selling the house I grew up in to DOWNSIZE to an apartment in Chicago.  My mom was 31 when she bought this house where I am living.  My husband and I have taken a lot of criticism because of this choice of moving out of a house.  After you get married, aren’t you supposed to by a house?  Why are you moving to Chicago now?  You want to raise a family in Chicago?  Why am I doing this you ask?  Because I WANT to. That’s all. 

My best friend and I had a conversation this weekend about life. We are 30 (alright she’s not 30 YET) and we are in different stages in our lives. We had a long talk about this subject and how everyone goes at their own pace. It is easy to feel down, because again society says that 30 is an old age and you should have many accomplishments already. (you’re as old as you feel). Who cares if you don’t have a serious relationship? Who cares if I don’t have children and have no immediate plans for motherhood?  Who cares if I don’t have my dream house? Who cares if I am not making enough money or have my dream job? That is what life is; you have time to explore anything and be whatever you want to be. You have time to change, you have time to travel and do whatever you want to do.  What I have learned is no one is the same, and social media has a way of pointing it out right in our face. Rather than be envious of others, support those life stages. I feel that is why I have friends in all walks of life; I have friends with children, single friends and everyone in between because we all share one common goal; to be happy and support one another.

If you’re like me, and maybe feeling stuck sometimes and you don’t feel that you are where you’re supposed to be; just STAHP IT! You are where you are supposed to be; right now. You can’t control outside day to day life, you can control what you do about it. You can’t keep blaming outside circumstances. You can apply for jobs if you want to grow your career. You can meet new people if you want to find a relationship. You can do whatever you need to do and work to where you eventually want to be. Yes it takes time, yes it takes blood, sweat and tears but if you keep working towards your life goals, whatever it may be, you will get where you are MEANT to be.

Thank you for reading. Please leave your comments and thought below 🍍💜

I am my mother’s daughter…

There! I said it! Happy now Mom?!
I thought that since my mom’s 9th (wow) anniversary of her passing was this past weekend, I wanted to dedicate this blog post to my mom and motherhood.

In my first blog post with introducing “Laugh Always” to the world, I shared that I don’t believe I would have made it to where I am now, or have the positive attitude I have if it wasn’t for my upbringing. I had a really fun loving mom. One that wanted to be our friend most times than to be the disciplinarian in the house. My mom, known as MC to MANY people, was very outgoing and very energetic. She was passionate about us kids for sure; and always very involved in our lives from the beginning. She was very organized with everything; from pictures to planning all of our birthday parties (we each had two, one friend party with 20+ kids and one family party), she did it all. She was “mom” to all of our friends throughout our life; and she wanted everyone to call her Maricarol or MC (mostly on the softball field). My mom coached every single team that my sister or myself were on either basketball or softball, was a “room” mom for class parties, and became a substitute teacher at the middle school my siblings and I went to. If we had the same lunch period, she would check us out of school to take us out to lunch for an hour (shhh! Don’t tell my teachers!). In high school, if I wasn’t feeling well, rather than being sent to the school nurse, she was a text message or phone call away for her to come and get us from school.

I can go on and on about how absolutely awesome she was to us. We were SPOILED; and I don’t mean the materialistic kind. My dad and my mom made us earn our material things, whether it be to save our own money, or to get a job if we wanted to get our license or get a cell phone. We were spoiled in the sense that we were never without our mom. Mom was always there for us; making us food, taking us places; she hardly said no to us. We had countless sleepovers during softball season and made each team that we had special with our parties, with our practices, and our team meetings.

My mom did a lot for us and taught us a lot about life. When she was diagnosed with colon cancer for the first time, I was 14 years old. To us kids, she made it seem she was still unstoppable. While going through chemotherapy, she still wanted to be as involved as she could through her good days. She still wanted to substitute teach and she was involved in our basketball team that winter. CHEMOTHERAPY didn’t stop this woman for being there for her kids. As she went into remission, life got back to normal pretty quickly. While she had some lasting side effects from chemo, it was a quick cry or a quick complaint but it never got her down. She was diagnosed a second time, and again she remained her lifestyle as much as she could. She was still involved with softball, as much as even umpiring softball games before her condition worsened.

During her worst days, she was attached to an oxygen machine due to several blood clots that were being managed.  However, she hardly could ever sit still. One of my favorite last memories of her is when she used a rolling computer chair to roll around the kitchen (attached to her oxygen) and was cleaning dishes and putting them away. She was blasting music and having a great time rolling around. She participated in a weekend long softball tournament where she was also in charge of the specific tournament – while at her weakest.

My mom died unexpectedly in 9-2-2008. Yes, she had colon cancer but that is not what ultimately killed her. Unfortunately, the blood clots made their move to my mom’s heart and she felt no pain. Through this time, life was numb. The holidays quickly approached and the house would usually be filled with the dozens of desserts and food that she would have. We usually hosted Christmas Day dinner, and that also stopped. Life felt empty and while my mom taught us a lot, the one thing she didn’t teach us was how to live without her. She was the center and the heartbeat of our family.

The longer we get from her being here with us on Earth, the harder it gets. I miss her more now, and I want her hugs even more. It’s hard to stay positive when all I see is fantastic relationships among my friends with their moms. My mom passed away when I was 21; so I lacked that adult bond that I now see my friends having with their moms. I was still coming around to the idea of being on the same level as my mom, as an adult and I will never get that. I will never get to do a manicure or pedicure with her, I will never go wine tasting and she did not get to help me plan my wedding nor will Darrin (my husband) ever get to meet her. My children won’t get to meet her and she won’t get to see her family grow. These things hit me like a ton of bricks, and it is the harsh reality of it. But as my mom always taught me to do, you must move on and get over it.

Needless to say, I had an incredible mother and the 21 years of life I was able to share with her will be something I will never forget. Everything she did for us and with us, she provided us with the best life she could and I am proud to finally say I have turned (mostly) into her. I have always been a daddy’s girl, and always refused to admit I am my mother’s daughter. Being the oldest siblings in both of our families, my mom and I frequently argued. But again, there are times where I feel cheated because I was coming into adulthood, and I knew that we would have probably gotten along more than we ever would have.

I’d like to think that I can be just as good as she was. I mean I feel that I do a great job with my puppy (I KNOW IT IS NOWHERE NEAR THE SAME). There are times where I also think that motherhood isn’t for me.  With my own bout of cancer, I went through the process of freezing my eggs. I don’t know for sure if I can’t have children, but the chemo was supposed to knock all of that out.  I’m 30, and my body has aged because of the chemo so I feel like I am running out of time. I still feel young, too young to be a mom and I’m selfish in the fact I want to do my own thing. I’m not ready to put my body through more trauma.  But there are also times where I look at my husband and how adorable our children would be if he impregnated me one day!

I am lucky that I’m surrounded by amazing mothers. My friends who have children, I am honestly amazed. My cousin has two little boys and I spent some time with them this weekend. We rode in the car with them for two hours on a road trip and she sat in between them. The 8 month old is pulling her hair and squealing and the 4 year old is picking her nose and poking her in the other side. She does nothing but LAUGH and keep her cool the entire time. Another one of my best friends is raising the sweetest, smartest little girl I know, and I don’t know how she does it. She is an amazing mom where she has worked full time while pregnant and comes home to provide for her daughter and husband. These girls, like many of other moms out there amaze me. Like my mom, I am dumbfounded how moms are selfless creatures. I hope to be like this one day.

There are some people who don’t get that relationship with their mom. By being a full time mom, you are doing something amazing; please know that. My mom put herself last, as any other mom does. You are incredible. Maybe motherhood isn’t right for me now but I hope that one day I can be like these examples I have shared.

Please give your mom a call today, a text or a hug. Some of us can’t do that. Let them know how appreciated they are. I wish everyday I can let my mom know how much she did for us because she probably has no idea and was only doing these things because she thought she had too.

To my mom: I miss you more and more each day and I know that I talk to grandma every week for at least thirty minutes, but I know I would be texting you non stop everyday. I know that Caryn and me would still poke fun at you. I hope you would like Darrin, but I have faith that you would have. I love you so much and you have no idea how much you STILL do for us kids. My strength through my cancer battles came from you and you alone. Thank you for being my inspiration to keep living life to its fullest. 

Thank you again for reading. Please comment below to share your story 💜

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